Most of the days I end up cribbing about traffic woes and the miseries of flyover construction all over Bangalore, though at the same time I also keep on thinking as to what I as an individual can do to avoid adding up to the already existing mess on roads. Trust me all the traffic problem in Bangalore is not only because of municipal issues, I seriously think that and firmly believe that a good part of the chaos is also due to highly undisciplined commuters here. Even if the percentage of such irresponsible drivers will be low as compared to the sincere ones but the problem is when there is not even an extra inch available to divert then even slight digression and other smart acts by few fellow drivers can really lead to larger chaos on the roads. Tired of driving (read crawling) on that route daily, I always think of opting for some public transportation service for my daily commuting needs. One it would save me all the hassle of meandering my ways on that horribly packed road, second at least from my side I’ll be reducing one car which occupies the road space with only one passenger in it! But unfortunately there is no good bus service available directly from my home to office. And taking auto daily is simply out of question – one needs a special training all together to deal with auto walas in Bangalore.
When I saw this picture yesterday and read a tweet about monthly bus day today in Bangalore, I thought let me try to travel by bus today. Last month also we had discussed in office about taking the bus on bus day as our contribution for lesser traffic from our side even if it meant for one day only. I knew this would mean at least extra 30 mins (6 mins to walk till nearest bus stop from my home, 14 mins to reach my office from nearest bus stop again & another 10 minutes to wait for bus to come assuming there will be at least some bus every 10 minutes). And taking out extra 30 mins in morning rush to reach office is a task in itself. But still determined to travel by bus today, I reached the stop dot on time as per the timing suggested by BMTC website. Two auto guys came and very proudly I said NO to them. Waiting, waiting and lo no bus at all for 15 mins. Hmmm, some more waiting and after approx 22 minutes saw a bus coming. Happily tried to enter the same and well the bus was jam packed so much so that not even a single passenger boarded the bus. A minute or two and the bus was just gone! Waiting commuters looked at each other with a wry smile. Waited for another few minutes and then along with others decided to succumb to auto wallas once again. And when we approached those auto guys whom earlier all of us had said no, you should have seen their ironical smile! Yes, once again we were at the mercy of them and knowing well that we have already wasted our time for 25-30 minutes, all of them asked whatever money they wanted to. Depending upon our negotiating powers, kannada speaking skills and urgency to reach office we took the autos at all random and highly inflated rates. Finally reached office quite late than planned and at a quite higher cost than estimated! Despite the intention to contribute my bit towards lesser traffic, the bus day was sort of dampener for me!
Though I am in total favor of initiatives like Bus Day or Carpooling drives in Bangalore, but I wonder do we have enough infrastructures to support such initiatives here? What’s the point in tom-tomming so much about initiatives like bus day when not even enough buses are there to support the needs of the commuters? If facilities are there but still public is not opting for it out of luxury or bit of convenience then I can still understand it, but here not even the basic facilities are in place for people to opt for? Can I as an individual really do anything towards easing out the traffic problems in Bangalore or am I just supposed to have more patience to cope up with it each & every day?